Researchers have shown that the gut microbiome is connected to overall health and that diet can alter the microbiome.
In a recent small-scale preliminary study, researchers compared the effects of two diets on the gut microbiome.
They found that a fermented food diet increased the diversity of the gut microbiome and lowered markers of inflammation.
In a new proof-of-concept study, eating fermented foods increased the diversity of participants’ gut microbiomes and reduced markers of inflammation.
In contrast, participants who consumed a high fiber diet did not see an increase in their gut microbiome diversity.
The research, which appears in the journal Cell, lays the groundwork for further research to explore in more depth how different dietary interventions can positively affect a person’s gut microbiome.
The human microbiome describes the various bacteria and other microorganisms that exist in and on the human body. A person’s gut microbiome is a particularly diverse location of these microbes relative to other parts of the body.
During the last 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the amount of research that scientists have conducted on the gut microbiome and its links to human health.
Researchers have shown that the gut microbiome plays an important role in health. The makeup of the microbiome can affect the development of many noncommunicable chronic diseases, such as gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic diseases, and some types of cancer.
A person’s gut microbiome generally stays quite stable during their lifetime.
However, certain factors — including environmental factors, medications, and dietary patterns — can significantly affect it.
Given the links between the gut microbiome and health, scientists are interested in precisely how to alter a person’s gut microbiome.
This is a pressing issue, as researchers have argued that Western diets tend to reduce the diversity of people’s gut microbiomes, resulting in negative effects on people’s health.
For example, in a 2018 article in the journal Nutrients, Marit K. Zinöcker, of the Department of Nutrition at Bjørknes University College in Oslo, Norway, and Inge A.
Lindseth of the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Bergen, Norway, argue that the ultra-processed food that predominates in the Western diet has altered people’s gut microbiomes.